Hill People Gear Forums
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...19111911
Previous
 
Next
New Post
8/20/2013 2:01 PM
 
1911  Modified By Craig Robertson  on 8/20/2013 2:02:05 PM

Gentlemen - in an earlier thread, I asked for some opinion's on PPW and received some outstanding info / advice.  Although I haven't been able to get my wife to fire on yet, I am leaning towards a 1911 (with 1913 rail and tac light).  Now, I know many will scratch their heads and say why, if you are not already a 1911 man, go down this road.  Same reason I have walnut stocks on my Winchester rifles, use leather boots, leather scabbards for my knives and merino wool base layers...often the original items are the best.  I seem to have an affinity for original things.

If I am going to spend $1000+ on a pistol, why would I look at something else.  I have been researching the Glock 21, the Springfield XD, Ruger SR45, the Springfield / Colt / Smith and Wesson 1911's, as well as Kimber and Sig 1911s.  Besides nostalgia, why chose one over the other, price notwithstanding?  The Springfield and Kimber seem to be getting the best write ups.  I clearly am not going to be able to try them all (simple availability) so what made you decide, one over the other?

I realize this is an open ended question, just looking for personal insight, feedback and good old common sense.  Plus, I know I will get some good conversations going.

Thanks again, gentlemen.

Craig

 
New Post
8/20/2013 2:16 PM
 

To answer you question, because for 1k you are just getting into the 1911 market, and a HK45 or 45c is a better bang for your buck at that price and the G21, and M&P45 are cheaper than that and also a better bet. In this case the original item is not best, and I would argue not in the case of some of the stuff you listed either, but really if you have made up your mind you have made up your mind.

That part aside, the only ones I would consider personally are Springfield and Colt.  Due to variable QC I would not touch a Kimber or Sig and a lot of Sigs have a different slide contour, which can make holsters hard to find.  I dislike the Smith and Wesson external extractor, and their improved models have funky checkering.  However, of the 3 I have personal experience with they ran just fine.  The Dan Wesson Valor and Specialist seem to be some good guns with good features.  The Remingtons and Rugers both have nice features and are building a decent reputation, but they are new to the game.  If it helps Larry Vickers recommends Springfield for a 1911 that is likely to run out of the box or the Colt, but expect to have to get a bit of work done (sharp edges mostly). 

Specifically, Springfield MC Operator, Springfield LW Operator, and Colt Railgun.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
8/20/2013 2:25 PM
 
Re: 1911  Modified By Craig Robertson  on 8/20/2013 2:28:57 PM

Thanks Scot - the 1k price was the average up here and I am not wedded to a particular brand name, I will investgate the HK, Springfield  and the M&P 45 too.  I will not fully decide until my wife get's to fire one.  I have read that the G21 is good for recoil.

You aren't a fan of leather scabbards or walnut stocks?

 
New Post
8/20/2013 2:30 PM
 

To be honest, while I can appreciate them aesthetically, I find synthetic stocks and kydex to be better bets for field use. They just stand up better since you don't have any kind of moisture issues.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
8/20/2013 2:39 PM
 
Re: 1911  Modified By Craig Robertson  on 8/20/2013 2:40:08 PM

I do agree with you and I have a kydex sheath for my two main knives, I could never find a Win 300 M70 with synthetic stock.  I do not have a lot of time experimenting with them and when I need a recommendation, it will need to be in a different thread.

Thanks again.

 
New Post
8/20/2013 2:48 PM
 
Re: 1911  Modified By El Mac  on 8/20/2013 2:48:49 PM

Craig,

I understand where you are coming from.  While I have both old and new, or rather turn of the century and "modern" equipment in my stable, I too usually lean to the more classic stuff.  But I have that luxury.   That said, Scot offers good advice.

I would just encourage you to follow your heart.  Thats what trips your trigger, so why not?  At 1k for a 1911, you are rolling the dice a bit.  But your basic SAs will generally do well.  The key to the 1911 is using quality magazines.  Its not an option in my book.  Mild dehorning, a good trigger breaking at 4 lbs and good quality sights are also in the equation.  I would mentally prepare myself to spend the 1k for the base and around 500 more to get it set up the way you like.  One thing is, the 1911 is very customizable and it doesn't all need to be done at once.  The last thing I would encourage you to do is get very familiar with your chosen 1911.  Learn it well.  And do the maintainenance on it at routing intervals and you will have a piece that will last a lifetime and serve you well.  Treat it like a polymer, and its a recipe for less than optimal performance.  To me a pistol is akin to a katana or a broadsword.  So what if I have to do a little maintenance and 'changing of the oil'?  Some people love synthetic oil and Jiffy Lube every 10k miles whether it needs it or not............some like dinosaur oil at 3k and crawling under their rig themselves.  Personal choices....ani't life grand?

There is something heart warming about blue steel and walnut that in my mind, can't be equaled with a plastic stocked rifle.  I know the book and technical qualities that make dull steel and plastic a good field bet.  But.... it ain't me so much.  If you are wading into herds of zombies, commies and islamic radicals, fine...you can't do much better than an AR, FAL, SCAR or whatever.  But in the field, the parameters are different and its more about that zing you get when facing the elements on your terms.  For me, thats a semi-scout .30-06 in classic polished blue steel and walnut.  It ain't for everyone, and thats cool.  Each to their own.  But you should be happy with your gear. 

 
New Post
8/20/2013 3:27 PM
 

El Mac

Outstanding advice (as usual)...what it will come down to up here is availability.  Any pistol can be bought (within reason) it is the trying / testing that becomes problematic.  Pistols are a tricky item in The Great White North and finding a gun club that has a plethora to choose from is not always an easy find.  I may be forced to get something out of the box that feels good and fits my hand (and my wife's hand) and learn to use it and use it well. 

As for maintenance, I would not be much of a light infantryman if I didn't look after my kit, to me (and to many like yourself) proper maintenance of weapons, boots and tactical nylon is part of everyday life so, its what I know and love.  Likewise on the costs, I like the look of the HK 45 (about $1400) out of the box but will not know for sure until I can heft one on the range.

My days in the swamp are quickly coming to a close and I will have more time to investigate those 'tools' I want to keep around for the long haul.

I am still not 100% sold on the 1911.  I will be using one next week (a Para USA model) to see how it feels and performs.

 
New Post
8/20/2013 3:49 PM
 

Good deal.  Have fun in your 'hunt' and decision.

The 1911 isn't for everyone, but no pistol really is despite the fanboys and the manufactures hype of each type.  I always teach that the most important factor is to get something that fits the hand, is reliable and has a managable trigger over everything else.  Without those three in place, the pistol will never feel like an extension of yourself, and it really should be.

I can't imagine having to deal with the issues our Canadian brother gunners face.  Though there are many in our country that would gladly give up our hard earned rights to put gunners in your same shoes.  I remember a few years back working with some of your RCMP folks out west.  They lamented their own "godvernment" and actually thought it would be a great idea to have some western Canadian provinces join the US.  Fast forward to today, I wonder if they would feel the same?  Given the current conditions down here, I kinda doubt it.

Good luck to you and your wife!

 
New Post
8/20/2013 8:04 PM
 
You might have to put just a few more dollars with your $1,000 - but I'd suggest the Colt Rail Gun. The only thing it might "need" is a little trigger tuning, which isn't an expensive undertaking. Colt's quality has suffered in the past, but their 1911's are back where they need to be and as a finished pistol or as a base gun for several thousand dollars worth of work - my choice would be Colt, without hesitation.
 
New Post
8/20/2013 11:04 PM
 

Craig, I have read your PPW thread and this one with interest. To clarify, are you saying now that you are looking for a 1911 for bush carry or just for target shooting? If its bush carry, I think you really need to confirm what caliber your Provincial CFO will allow before deciding what platform you intend to use. Aside from being an active duty police officer, I have had Wilderness Authorizations to Carry off and on for the past twenty some odd years. I can assure you from considerable experience that most CFO's are particular about what caliber thery will authorize for Wilderness Carry AND more importantly what occupation they are issuing the ATC for. Historically there has been some difference among what CFO's will allow. They don't issue permits for guys to wonder about in the woods. Generally, you need to be a timber cruiser, geologist or trapper to get a wilderness ATC. In addition to your ATC application and fee of  $80 you will have to answer a written questionaire and phone interview about your occupation, provide detailed information on the training and background you have in that occupation and likely answer questions about how much you earn each year employed in the stated occupation. When I first got a carry permit in the 80's, it was pretty easy to get. That isn't the case anymore. If you are serious abouy getting an ATC and have a means to legimately show a need to carry a handgun, I wish you the best of luck. If that isn't the case, I suggest you look at another firearm for woods carry. Big boy rules being what they are....know that if you were found carrying a handgun without a permit, it could end up resulting in a lifetime firearms prohibition. I hope I have been of some help. All the best.

 
New Post
8/21/2013 7:53 AM
 

the judge wrote
 

Craig, I have read your PPW thread and this one with interest. To clarify, are you saying now that you are looking for a 1911 for bush carry or just for target shooting? If its bush carry, I think you really need to confirm what caliber your Provincial CFO will allow before deciding what platform you intend to use. Aside from being an active duty police officer, I have had Wilderness Authorizations to Carry off and on for the past twenty some odd years. I can assure you from considerable experience that most CFO's are particular about what caliber thery will authorize for Wilderness Carry AND more importantly what occupation they are issuing the ATC for. Historically there has been some difference among what CFO's will allow. They don't issue permits for guys to wonder about in the woods. Generally, you need to be a timber cruiser, geologist or trapper to get a wilderness ATC. In addition to your ATC application and fee of  $80 you will have to answer a written questionaire and phone interview about your occupation, provide detailed information on the training and background you have in that occupation and likely answer questions about how much you earn each year employed in the stated occupation. When I first got a carry permit in the 80's, it was pretty easy to get. That isn't the case anymore. If you are serious abouy getting an ATC and have a means to legimately show a need to carry a handgun, I wish you the best of luck. If that isn't the case, I suggest you look at another firearm for woods carry. Big boy rules being what they are....know that if you were found carrying a handgun without a permit, it could end up resulting in a lifetime firearms prohibition. I hope I have been of some help. All the best.

One word comes to mind.....Unreal.

 
New Post
8/21/2013 11:21 AM
 

The Judge

My primary reason for looking at any pistol would be for target shooting.  I know I cannot carry a pistol in the woods without the proper PAL or ATC and I am not employed in a job that would require such.  This was for information gathering and understanding how people have come to their decisions on what pistol to own.

 
New Post
8/21/2013 11:25 AM
 

While I can't disagree with anything El Mac said for a carry gun, a pistol for target shooting is a completely different kettle of fish. Get whatever the heck you want and enjoy shooting.

On another note, when I was research Rossi leverguns I ran across a thread where folks were getting a Ranch Hand and then putting a regular stock on it. Apparently, all of that is legal in Canada for woods use as the Ranch Hand is not a handgun up there and adding a longer stock was legal, or something to that affect. If it were me looking for a compact gun for woods use without having to deal with the requirements for a handgun. I would get a Ranch Hand put a longer stock on, RDS, and light and drive on.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
8/22/2013 9:19 AM
 

Dear All - I can't help but feel that I need to round this conversation out, it had me up last night.  Normally I wouldn't be annoyed by what other people might think of my ideas or myself personally but this annoyed me for some reason.

For all my Canadian brothers - I have never once defied a Firearms Law, I comply with them as I must but, that doesn't mean I agree with them all.  I would like to be able to have more freedom there (like carrying a side arm in a remote place) but I understand why the laws are constructed the way they are.  I know that I could apply discretion as I have trained shoot/no shoot scenarios for these past 23 years but I know the slippery slope that could appear there.  Owning firearms in our country is a privelege not a right and I cannot afford to have a firearms ban or incident - I love to hunt and want my children to and as a serving Army officer I would lose all credibility (and possibly my career). 

For all my US brothers - if any of you feel I have been disingenuous, my apologies.  I do truly wish to purchase a handgun (at this stage a S&W .40 is the front runner)for range work and for the very, very remote chance my family were in danger in our home and LEA chaps could not get there in time.  This is very rare in Canada and I have always lived in rural, friendly areas so I do not think this will ever happen.  But, if I am deployed overseas and my wife were alone and in trouble, I would want and need her to feel safe and secure.  In order to buy a pistol, I need to know why one was chosen over another.  I have only ever used Browning Hi-Powers and Sig 226s.  I have my own opinion on what constitutes a good pistol, I have always been drawn towards S&W and Colt (must be the cowboy in me) but I cannot find good write ups as to why one is better than the other and reading some of the drivel on gun web sites is not for me. 

What I do know is that what I have read on this forum (the only one I have signed up to) has always been on the up and up, opinions based on facts and it would seem that all of you are good, honest men that share the same values I do.  These are the reasons I sought your opinions. 

Thanks again,

Craig

 
New Post
8/22/2013 9:28 AM
 
Craig, I never thought you were being disingenuous at all. I've had the pleasure of working with and around your RCMP and your Army dudes both in Canada and overseas. Never had a problem with anyone. Good folk. I wish your political system was a bit different and that you had better gun laws that recognized the natural rights of man. As an American, I don't get that whole Crown bit. But I digress. Getting back on topic, if you are looking to go .40 cal, I'd stay away from the 1911. They work better with a .45 acp - or something with a similar OAL. For a .40, the real answer is polymer. Name it: Glock, FN, SW, HK, etc... They are all about on par with each other. I like the FNS personally because it is very familiar in operation with the 1911 and can be had with the thumb safety. But any of them will do the job. Good luck mate!
 
New Post
8/22/2013 10:03 AM
 

Craig,

I don't think anyone here is thinking poorly of you, and if that was the way you took my posts I apologize. I think part of the biggest issue is we don't know what we don't know, especially when it comes to the gun laws of another country. Any advice anyone gives from the states has to be viewed through the lens of we don't have a good knowledge of what you are dealing with legally. I think everyone on this forum can well appreciate the desire to leave something reliable, useable, and adequate with your wife. The idea that that is a privilege and not a right is completely foreign to the basic way I think, and I am guessing to most of the guys on this forum here in the US. 

When everyone asks for a firearm recommendation, especially a pistol, my frame of reference is based on carry and self defense.  The recommendations I make are based on that frame of reference.  The reality is skill is far more important that any other factor. While I choose a certain handgun for my purposes, I would be fine carry and using anyone I need to be reliable and accurate. 

As far is what is better and why the real secret is that as long as they are reliable and you can shoot them accurately it all comes down to personal preference. I don't have a ton of time to write up something, but I hope this might be helpful. It is a bit basic, but was originally written in response to the what gun should I get question, and was updated with that same question in mind:

I originally wrote this in the spring of 2008. It was a series of three emails written quickly in response to a question from a friend. As it was written quickly it hit the highpoints and glossed over things. I updated it, June 2011, but again it was done quickly and will gloss over things and hits the highpoints. Finally, it was updated August 2013, but again quickly.

My carry story
I grew up around guns. I literally don't remember a time when I wasn't shooting. I do remember when my handgun shooting was limited but rifles starting with bbguns go back as far as I can remember. My dad is a member of the flavor of the month club. Meaning he is always trading, selling, buying guns. Thus growing up I got a chance to shoot about everything. However, he always seemed to come back to a 1911. Thus I have a far back affinity for the design.

My first personally purchased pistol was a Star BM which is a small 9mm 1911 style gun. I had it around for a couple of years at most, but ultimately sold it because accuracy wasn't good enough. It was easy to carry, but only got use on a limited basis due to age.

My next gun was a Colt Gold Cup 1911. I owned that pistol for many years, but ulimitely issues with the sights and weight caused me to sell it. I did have to add a beavertail because it bit me. It got some carry while but was again limited due to my age.

When I got to Seattle and got my first CCW, I decided I needed something small to carry. I got a full steel officers size 1911 from Llama. I wanted a Colt Defender but I was able to afford the Llama.  This was before I undershoot the importance of a good belt and holster and was convinced that only a small gun could be concealed plus compacts look cool. Turns out Llamas aren't that reliable long term. It was accurate, but after a few hundred rounds it started to have all kinds of issues, and I decided to dump it while it was still working reasonably well.

So it was sold/traded for a Colt 380 1911 style.  I chose this over the Defender, because that is what they had in the shop when I dumped the Llama and it was a neat little gun and by god was a pocket pistol just the ticket for concealed carry. Plus it was a few hundred dollars cheaper than the Defender. Unlike some I couldn't just drop this pistol in a pocket so I used a holster. It was a good little pistol, but I found that I couldn’t shoot it as well as a regular pistol. I decided if I used a holster I might as well have a bigger caliber firearm. So it was sold. See below for more thoughts on pocket guns.

I then got a Colt Defender 3" officer frame 1911. This pistol was actually my carry pistol for a couple of years. Carry in that I had it on me occasionally and it lived in my truck. For awhile I had both this and the 380, but the 380 never got used. It was accurate, shot well, was cool as all heck decked out with stag grips, and was a joy to carry. However, at the time I was doing a lot of shooting and noticed I really had to work to get the accuracy with it I got with a full size 1911 easily. The other thing was that it would start to bobble after a few hundred rounds without cleaning and oiling. So I bought a 5" colt 1991A1. The defender was ultimately sold as it just never got used after that.

I installed a beavertail on the 1911A1 and carried this pistol for a couple of years. Again this meant weekends, hiking, on trips, etc… I put a couple of 1k rounds through it and never had any issues. I was very happy with reliability and accuracy. I then moved to Bend. My carry switched from evenings/weekends to 24/7 when I am in town or traveling by vehicle. I quickly started wishing I had something lighter to carry. So I sold the colt and got an S&W 1911 Commander's length with a scandium frame. Again thinking that the compact gun would be better. Over the years, I have come up with my 30oz rule. I find that any more than 30oz I notice on my hip under that with a good holster and belt I don’t. That doesn’t mean that I haven’t carried a heavier gun and won’t, but just that I prefer not to.

I carried that pistol for about two years. However, again I found when I started shooting competition and practicing more regularly that I could shoot a fullsize better. There was also an officers model 1911 mixed in here as I thought that I might be able to shoot a heavier compact better then a lighter compact, and again it was a cool gun. I sold it when I found out that wasn’t the case.  I also became concerned with capacity based on shooting matches and internet reading. I bought a Browning High Power to experiment with capacity and as a carry gun. Plus a nice BHP is one of the most, if not the most, elegant pistols made in my opinion. However, unfortunately the pistol stopped running for me and after working with a smith to correct that I dumped it, because we could never get it to run for me, others yes, but not me. I also found out that the 32oz gun was noticeably heavier then my 28oz commander on the hip.

After much discussion and pondering Evan and I had the great shoot out. First, I rented a bunch of guns while I was traveling to compare accuracy. I found that I was most accurate with a 1911. Evan and I then did a big shoot out with everything we have and found out that we were more accurate with 5" pistols over the 4-4.25" commanders we were both carrying at the time. However, we didn't want to go back up in weight to a full steel 5". The compromise was a 5" lightweight 1911. We both switched to carrying one and were happy. We also in part went that way because Evan to a large extent and I to a lesser extent have issues with plastic vs metal. We were affected adversely when we were young. It lingers.  
During that time I also fooled around with and owned shortly a glock 19. I had shot the 17 and liked it but the cool guys carried 19s and it was compact and thus easier to conceal. So I got the 19, but I could never warm up to it so I sold it. 
This brings us up to 2008 when this was originally written.
After running the 5” 1911 for a bit less than I year I decided to try a high capacity 9mm again. This time I got the G17. I chose it over the M&P because after the Browning I wanted absolute reliability and it was the gold standard. I really like the M&P, but at that point they didn’t make a thumb safety version so I went with the G. Of course they came out with a thumb safety (TS) M&P about 6 months later. I really like a TS for several reasons I can articulate, but it is largely a holdover from my 1911 days. I bought an M&P TS put about 200rds through it and then took my first Vickers Class all within about 2 weeks. I never had a single issue with it. A couple of months latter I was in the store and handled an M&P Pro. I really like the longer slide for balance and ended up buying it. After some looking at it, I put the pro slide on my TS lower and the Pro lower with the standard slide. The resulting TS Pro was my carry gun for the next two years and went through a Vickers course. After about 700 or so rounds without cleaning the extractor really well it would start to have extraction issues. I subsequently put in an apex extractor. I don’t know if this was a hundred percent because I haven’t shot it much since then. The pro lower and regular slide gun was sold to a friend, Badger, who has a bunch more rounds through it including two Vickers classes with no issues.
That brings us up to June 2011
I primarily grew up with 1911s,and from the age of 18 I carried either a 1911 for 1911 like gun (star bm and colt 380) until I was around 32, but it was really the last 6 years that I was a serious full time ccw. For the next 2.5-3 years I carried a plastic 9mm. It was during that last period that I got serious about learning to shoot and started training, practicing seriously (not just plinking), and really trying to become a student of the gun. I learned more in those years then probably all the others together. At this point give me any gun that I know to be reliable through personal experience and I am going to be happy. Some designs are better than others at some things and other are better for others. At this point I feel like I run pretty much any quality handgun with a decent trigger well. I assume when I buy a pistol that I am going to need to change the sights, I prefer Warren Tactical straight 8 style night sights, and most likely get the trigger worked on. My trigger preference is for 4.5lbs and crisp with little creep. At this point I am convinced that my needs as a shooter and the needs of most shooters is best served by a quality plastic hi capacity 9mm. I feel that most folks can’t shoot well and shoot compacts even worse. Compacts aren’t any easier to conceal, and therefore why handicap yourself with a gun that is harder to shoot?
Around Christmas I was talking with Evan and another friend about pistols and the 1911 came up. I realized how much I really missed carrying and shooting a 1911. Fully, realizing that a plastic 9mm was a better choice I decided to give the 1911 platform another try. I am all about weapons lights and lighter weight. I chose the Springfield LW Operator and signed up for a Vickers 1911 Operators Class (aka why you should carry a glock) later this summer. I am really enjoying the pistol I carry and find I want to shoot it more. I reckon I am probably stuck with a 1911 and am willing to deal with what the means. However, there is a large part of me that wishes I didn’t have the experience with them I do and the addiction to them I do. They are not the best choice.
During the years I have also messed with revolvers primarily for woods/bear use. I love the look and feel of an S&W N-Frame, but they aren’t light for carry.  Over the years I have had and carried a fair number of different revolvers, including lightweights in 38, 357, and 41 mag. I shoot an auto a lot better than a revolver, and I feel that a quality modern auto is more reliable than a revolver. That being said no main stream auto offers the power that a revolver does. I shot a revolver fairly well, but shooting a match with one was an eye opener. I found that while a lightweight auto is not a problem a lightweight revolver is more than I want to handle. Plus I don’t feel they are reliable due to lock up as a result of crimp jump. Plus the locks on lightweight S&Ws lock up on folks. Thus I won’t own another lightweight revolver or one with a lock. I currently own one .41 Mag and it is my bear gun. I am in the market for a N-Frame 357. I have noticed that 38/357 is always available and it will be a cheaper alternative to my .41 for practice and eventually a class. 
Updated August 2013
I have been carrying the Springfield LW Operator since 12/10 and haven’t had any real big issues with it. I have had a couple of magazines go bad on me, but that is really the extent of it. After putting about 2100 rds through it and the Vickers 1911 Operators class I semi-retired it, and by that I mean I picked up a MC Operator for competition and training. It is the gun I pound on. The LW is my carry gun, and still gets practiced with, but I wanted to have a spare and figured the full weight gun was easier on my joints for recoil and would have better longevity with the steel frame. Other than a few tweaks from LAV they are basically stock. I have run the MC Operator through another LAV class and I haven’t had any issues with it. However, as I train more and gain better skill I find that the skill is really the key and not the firearm. I agree with El Mac that an affinity and trust for your chosen pistol is important, but the ability to run your firearm is really key.
How to Choose a Pistol. (this section is mostly un-modified since 2008)

The first thing to do is buy a good .22 and start shooting every chance you get. I like the ruger 22/45.

Then start looking at a pistol for use. The first thing to do is define what you will use the pistol for. As the saying goes Mission drives gear. For instance my recommendation and choice for a back country AK gun is very different then my recommendation for a tux gun. However, as you will find out my recommendations for the in between gun is remarkable similar for all other uses.

The first thing is committing to spending what it takes to get a pistol from a reliable maker. There is nothing wrong with buying used. Just make sure you know what to look for. Every gun maker including glock makes lemons. If you get a lemon send it back and make them repair it. I would say reliable makers are Springfield 1911s (not XD), S&W (not a sigma), Colt, Kimber (gen 1 guns ONLY), Glock (9mm preferably see below and older Gen3), Sig Sauer (older used guns), and HK. Ruger revolvers are good. Their autos are cheap and generally reliable but are large, clunky, and not the best material quality.

Everyone traditionally generally agreed that glocks and sigs in 9mm are the most reliable. This is because the gun is designed around the 9mm caliber. (same thing for the 1911 and .45 vs other calibers). What they did to go to other calibers was to just change measurements. That means that you can get things that work fine in 9mm are not the best design for different calibers to not get to technical. However, the glock in 40 is widely issued so they are not the worst gun on the market. There are just related issues. (However, a change in leadership at Sig and the Gen4 roll out along with small parts issues at Glock has really changed this. New sigs and glocks are both spotty.). The M&P was designed around the 40 to start with the .45 was designed as a 45 so they largely work in all calibers well.

Okay now you have narrowed down to makers. It is time to start looking at models from each maker. At this point you have two choices. Go to a large gun store or gun show and handle everything you can get your hands on and then buy the one that fits your hand best, or what I recommend. Go to a range and rent everything you can get your hands on and figure out what shoots best and fits your hand best. This way you don't get home with your new pistol shoot it and find out that recoil is too much and as a result you don't want the gun anymore. So you have to sell it, usually at a lose and start over.

I vastly prefer fullsize or so called duty size firearms. Why, because I shoot them the most accurately and they fit my hand the best. I have also found that with the right carry system you can conceal them just fine for the most part. I have carried a 4" N-Frame concealed just fine. However, it required the correct belt and holster. So you need to look at if concealment is an issue and if so how big a factor that is. If deep concealment in fitted clothes is a factor you might have to give a little in the terms of accuracy over concealability. I have both a small .380 and 9mm for this use. It is a very limited use. So they are in the safe most of the time. I have found that with the right carry system and dress you can comfortably carry most full size guns. But you should think about it and factor it in. As weight and size are important factors for carrying. For instance the fullsize HK USP in 45 is one of the most accurate pistols I have shot. However, it is huge and would be a pain to carry concealed. The Colt 1991A1 5" concealed just fine but the weight was a pain.

I have found that for weight anything over about 30 ozs is noticeable on the hip. Anything less I forget I am carrying it. Evan has found the same. So look at guns in the sub 30oz range.

As far as caliber, unless you can articulate a valid reason (free ammunition, backcountry use, magazine limitations, etc…) to go with something else get a 9mm. If you ever shoot a match or get the chance to look at the scores from one you will notice that even when limited to 10rds (IDPA) the number of magazine changes will mean that the overall times of the new to middle of the road 9mm shooter will be better than most of the best 1911 shooters. Reloads take time.

9mm - gives you the highest capacities, cheapest to buy and shoot, least recoil. 40 - splits the difference between the 9mm and .45, you have more capacity than the .45 and a larger bullet then the 9mm. However, the cost is closer to the .45 for shooting and the recoil is harsher then the 9mm and depending on gun the .45
.45 - largest bullet, least capacity, most expensive to shoot. If you are ever restricted to ball ammo for SD then .45 is your only choice.

If I were you just starting out I would focus on plastic pistols. They are cheaper, have weight and capacity advantages, and manufacturing advantages. Don't get wedded to the need for steel and stag like Evan and I are. I would also probably stay away from 1911s as they have their own issues. Whatever you get leave it stock and shoot the hell out of it. Then if something is wrong have the company or a RELIABLE/EXPERIENCED gunsmith fix it. Don't be the guy who thinks he needs to do all this work to a pistol to make it work. That guy’s gun usually doesn't work. This is the biggest reason 1911s have such a poor reputation.

So to sum it up. Find the duty size pistol from a reliable maker in the largest caliber that YOU shoot the best. Make sure it is below 30ozs for ease of carry. I would focus on glock (9mm older Gen3), the HK30, and the M&P. I would also look at the compact HK USP, P2000, and P30 as they are actually the same size as the other maker’s full size guns. I would also look at sig with the dak trigger only (see below and older ones). However, both the sig and HK command a higher price and HK service is abysmal (this has changed).

As far as trigger pull there are three basic choices:

1) Single action. Meaning that when you pull the trigger the hammer falls. Think of the cocked and locked 1911 or a cocked revolver.
2) double/single action. Meaning that the gun is carried with the hammer down. When you pull the trigger the hammer is cocked and released which are the two/double actions. For automatics the slide reciprocating cocks the hammer so thereafter you are shooting a single action. So you have a, usually, heavy long first trigger pull, and then a lighter shorter succeeding trigger pull. The problem is that accuracy is all about consistency. It is hard to be consistent when you have two different trigger pulls, at least for me. It can be trained for but takes time. This is one reason I avoid most Sigs. If you watch most sig shooters at the range you will see they are using it single action for the most part by working the slide prior to firing. Therefore they aren't training for it.
3). This is a catch all group that includes Double action only (DAO), and the so called striker fired like the glock, xd, M&P. People will yell loud and long that there are difference and mechanically there are. However, in use they are enough similar in my mind that I lump them together to make it easy. There are differences but basically the hammer/firing pin/striker is not cocked or is partially cocked. When you pull the trigger the gun fires. The upside of this is that the trigger is the exact same every time. Some are heavier and longer than others due to design.

I recommend a single action, ONLY If you are willing to spend the time to work with it so that the safety is taken off every time, or the dao/striker fired. I don't like the DA/SA guns as you are already setting up an obstacle to accuracy. Single action = HK some models, BHP, and 1911s. 3 group? everything else including the M&P with thumb safety. Although the M&P won't fire with the safety on so it is kind of a grey pistol.

 


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
8/22/2013 11:51 AM
 

El Mac - thanks.

Scot - no need to apologize.  Your write up was super detailed and well laid out, thanks very much.  I like the honesty of it and the sage advice, especially with how and why the pistol you have chosen to use.

My wife and I are off next week to a club to shoot a few pistols, these will be limited to 9mm, .40 and.45.  If my wife can safely and properly (she is a good shot with the our service Browning 9mm) use the .40 I will look closely at those.  If not, I will stick with 9mm.  I am really not under any time pressure so will keep researching and shooting as much as possible before laying down the cash. 

I am not worried so much about cost of the pistol or the ammo, it 's safety and reliability.  Funny how many of your suggestions are ones I was looking at yesterday pm - HK P30L, Glock and S&W M&P.  What I find difficult to wrap my mind around are the polymer pistols without a hammer - its difficult to imagine the safety on them when all I ever fired are Brownings and Sigs.  I also like the idea of the decocking lever on Sigs and HKs.  A mate of mine has a M&P 9mm that I will look at today. 

To all - I truly appreciate the excellent info and your time.

 
New Post
8/22/2013 11:58 AM
 

Do your Sigs come from Europe or the US? If Europe you should still be completely good to go as my understand is all the QC issues are Sig USA issues. 

I have to admit to liking an exposed hammer. Some folks I highly respect are very big fans of the HK45 and P30, both of which have exposed hammers.


Co-Owner Hill People Gear "If anything goes wrong it will be a fight to the end, if your training is good enough, survival is there; if not nature claims its foreit." - Dougal Haston
 
New Post
8/22/2013 9:49 PM
 

Scot,

We get both the European and US built Sigs up here. The US built Sigs are more common these days simply because of the proximty of our borders, but the demand for European built Sigs is still there.

We are running Sig M400's for patrol carbines. No issues yet, hope it stays that way too!

 

Craig,

It sounds to me like you are on the right track. I merely wanted to my share experience related to ATC's with you as an effort to help you with your choices. I shared the caution with you about carrying without it because I can understand the internal struggle one can have when faced with the challenge of securing the safety of those we love and still observe the laws of our land. It is extremely frustrating. I've been there, trust me.

There was no intent to judge you, so please don't lose anymore sleep over it. While we have the common law right to defend ourselves and those we love, it is not supported by a right to bear arms as our brothers and sisters to the South have. So, I've learned to make the best of what we can do to have a firearm handy a long time ago and stop worrying about it.

 

 
New Post
8/22/2013 11:27 PM
 
Sometimes dept tradeins can be treasure. I picked up an tradein that was an German Sig P220 in new unissued condition, and an carried used one. My old Sig 220 and HK 45 and Glock 17 is what I have and they work.

forumPoster is not the actual poster. If you are the actual poster, please make another quick post claiming this post. Sorry, too much moderator overhead to change the attribution on this post.
 
Previous
 
Next
HomeHomeDiscussionsDiscussionsFirearms and Sk...Firearms and Sk...19111911